If you have to use "the Method" to act excited about seeing in-laws at your holiday gatherings, you have something in common with all the actors in Scrooge and Santa drag night after night from now till New Year's. Sure, it's a job for them, sometimes even one that pays pretty well. But all that pretending does take its toll.
Just once, we'd like to see Bob Cratchit say "Screw it," bean Ebenezer with a coal scuttle and run off with a comely wench.
This weekend is the beginning of the holiday season at many North Texas theaters. You've got loads of choices among traditional Christmas tales, comedies, musical revues and more. Go see a show. Or get tix for the visiting relatives and send them while you enjoy some alone time in front of the fireplace.
Jump for the rundown of what's opening where:
November 26: Santa Claus the Musical at Casa Mañana Children's Theatre, Fort Worth (through December 23). Inspired by a book by Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum. Tickets through Ticketmaster only.
Rockin' Christmas Party, WaterTower Theatre, Addison (through December 18). Raucous musical comedy revue with holiday themes, starring Gary Floyd, Denise Lee, Sara Shelby-Martin and others. Box office, 972-450-6232.
Auntee Explains X-mas at Jubilee Theatre, Fort Worth (through December 31). Musical by Rudy Eastman and Joe Rogers that lets Auntee narrate a classic Christmas story in her own loopy, hilarious style. Join the cast for a fundraising bake sale at 5 p.m. December 11, right after the show. Box office, 817-338-4411.
November 29: Irving Berlin's White Christmas at Bass Hall, Fort Worth (through December 4). Touring production of the stage musical based on the great old flick about two Army pals who conspire to honor a retired general in a splashy Christmas revue at a Vermont inn. Box office, 817-212-4280.
November 30: Greetings, One Thirty Productions at Bath House Cultural Center (through December 17). The all-matinee company presents this play about a Catholic guy who brings his Jewish fianceé home to meet his parents. In the middle of the culture clash, the mentally disabled younger brother suddenly speaks the word "Greetings!" The little miracle changes everyone. Box office, 214-532-1709.
Miracle on 34th Street by Company of Rowlett Performers, Mesquite (through December 10). Is Santa for real? A little girl and her skeptical mom find out in this adaptation of the movie. At Eastfield College. Box office, 972-977-7710.
Duck Hunter Shoots Angel at Tarrant County College Northeast Campus, Hurst (through December 3). Mitch Albom's whimsical tale of duck-hunting brothers in Alabama. Box office, 817-515-6687 or by email.
December 1: It's a Wonderful Life, Theatre Arlington, Arlington (through December 18). Zuzu's petals will once again convince her dad that he's returned from temporary insanity. Box office, 817-275-7661.
Letters to Santa, Ennis Public Theatre, Ennis (through December 18). Happy hokum with kids and music. Box office, 972-878-7529.
December 2: A Christmas Carol, Dallas Theater Center, Kalita Humphreys Theater (through December 24). New cast members, including Kurt Rhoads as Ebenezer Scrooge, make this worth a return visit. Also, it's the scariest of the stagings of Dickens' great Christmas ghost story. Box office, 214-880-0202.
Nuestra Pastorela, Cara Mia Theatre, Latino Cultural Center (through December 17). Based on the Mexican holiday tradition. Written by Jeffry Farrell and David Lozano; directed by Jeffry Farrell. Box office, 214-717-5297.
Season's Greetings, Onstage in Bedford, Bedford (through December 18). Alan Ayckbourn farce about friends and relatives hopping beds and swapping prezzies in a country home at the holidays. Email or call 817-354-6444.
Christmas Belles, Lakeside Community Theatre, The Colony (through December 17). It's Christmas time in the small town of Fayro, Texas, and the Futrelle Sisters -- Frankie, Twink and Honey Raye -- are not exactly in a festive mood. Tickets via email.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Colony Playhouse, Lewisville Arts Center (through December 18). Family-friendly holiday fare from a new community theater aimed at casting parents and kids in shows together. Box office, 972-625-1726
Nuncrackers -- The Nunsense Christmas Musical, Greater Lewisville Community Theatre, Lewisville (through December 18). Dan Goggin's beloved sisters are at it again in this hilarious holiday version from the Nunsense series. Box office, 972-221-SHOW.
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December 7: A Kodachrome Christmas, the Eisemann Center, Richardson (through December 11). Enter the wacky world of cable access TV hostess Earlene Hoople, the self-proclaimed "Queen of Rural Media," as she tapes her Christmas Special in front of a live audience. Box office, 972-744-4650.
December 12: The Mama's Party Christmas Concert in Support of Gideon's Feet is a fundraiser and show for a new charity dedicated to helping artists in need. Local musical theater stars Ashley and Brian Gonzales (he's just off the national tour of Shrek), Jeff Kinman, Amy Stevenson, Adam C. Wright, Jenay Puckett and others will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m., Dallas Children's Theater. Ticket prices are pretty much pay-what-you can, with a suggested minimum donation of $5. To reserve a seat, RSVP via email.
December 13: Black Nativity, New Arts Six at TeCo Theatrical Productions, Bishop Arts Theatre, Oak Cliff (through December 18). Adaptation by Donnie F. Wilson of Langston Hughes' Black Nativity. The birth of Jesus Christ is played with the birth of jazz. Box office, 214-948-0716.